I Didn’t Open The Door 1.0

Compilation clip of the the April 9, 2002 presentation at the Northeastern University Theater Lab in Boston.


I didn’t Open the Door 1.0” presents a compounding inclusion of essentially three elements: space, performer, and artificial intelligence. There’s also interactive tension between performers and the audience to the effect that one audience member felt “…as though I was being a passive bystander for not responding, I almost felt guilty for not helping.” The performers also continually moved the projection blocks to break the fourth wall,

Our intervention examined subjective realities, infinite strange loops, simulation, love and violence, and metaphysical distortions. The recurring “Who told you that?” component was just a simple phrase, yet enough to begin to cast doubts on the initial certainty of each character, in a way that many people currently experience the sensation that our reality might be a simulation.

In the performance, the character of a Disney animator claims to have control over the characters much in the same way as one would control the characters of the Sims in a game. In the development process of this early iteration, all characters, visuals, and narrative elements were based on performers’ meditations, the response of gpt-3 text generation, and DALL-E image creation. The AI-generated images felt eerily cohesive with the essence of the performance. The AI began to feel like the true narrator, as if all the characters have been inspired from the AI-generated art rather than vice versa.

Instead of offering a chronological story, the performers were sorting through a knot of memories and emotions that were not quite grounded, and hereby further exacerbating critical discomfort in the audience. A computer screen near the tent, showing scenes from the Japanese games “Mother 3” was evocative of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, alluding to yet another layer of reality in which the performers remind us of puppets and the behavior of NPCs when the player is not online.

This first 30-minutes long iteration has just begun to explore the narrative and visual potential of the material. The characters and their journeys depth remain to be investigated. The space itself is yet to be conceived and designed with the goal to become an installation inviting the audience to walk around and to participate.

Providence, RI April 18, 2022